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  • Cydia Store - Nearly $1/4 Million in Income

    The Cydia Store launched its first product on March 07, 2009. Cyntact sold sells for a buck, and was the first paid package through the Cydia Store. It allows you to see profile pictures in contact lists. While not the only 3rd party application store for the iPhone (Rock Your Phone also exists), the Cydia Store is definitely the most popular one, largely due to Cydia's immense popularity as the source for jailbreak packages (items you can only get when jailbroken - like themes and apps such as GV Mobile, recently kicked out of the AppStore).

    Now, 4 1/2 months later, "the Cydia Store has had ~53,000 purchases for a grand total of ~$210,000 spent," said Jay Freeman, creator of Cydia, known as saurik to most in the jailbreak crowd. And for a good while, packages weren't even being accepted into the store other than a few beta packages, which Freeman used to live test the service after the initial offline testing. (Packages are now being added more and more as the service matures - use our Cydia submission form if you've got an application you'd like ModMyi to host (we're not your only option), and we'll be in touch).

    Until March, the AppStore was the only sustainable way for a developer to sell their app. There were a few ambitious apps which were freely available in lite versions from Cydia, and had their own built-in payment systems (PdaNet comes to mind, although that whole move to paid was a bit controversial and actually made me completely revise our update approval process for the MMi repo). ZodTTD created an "invite-only" repository where only donaters could access, with unique URL's for the repo depending on your device, email, etc. Both these methods were hacks (however elegant) to get around the glaring issue - no good way existed for jailbreak developers to make any income from their work, forcing scores of developers to either give up on the jailbreak community, never get involved to begin with, or save their best for AppStore, while releasing lesser quality (and lesser time-consuming) packages on Cydia.

    The Cydia Store brings a whole new market as a viable option. Freeman states "In the last day, ~470,000 unique devices reported into my server (when I last checked, months ago, this figure was ~350,000). In the last week, ~1.5 million. In the last month, ~3 million. In the last two months, ~4 million devices. To be honest, this actually surprised me: I thought the jailbreak community had a higher attrition rate: that I'd be seeing a much smaller percentage of 'identifiers of jailbroken devices that were seen in the last two months'". That's a decent audience. The method of sale is well thought-out, too. Your Cydia Store account is tied to either a Facebook or Google account, much like your AppStore account is tied to your iTunes. Sign in once, and your info is saved unless you log out. Same with payment info - associate your device with your payment method once, and its saved for future purchases (of course with an option to turn it off).

    And there's money to be made. It's been said that jailbreakers are not the type to pay for apps, which may be true of a select few cheapskates or a vocal minority of hard-headed "all software should be free" activists (I just call them cheapskates) - but the truth is quite the opposite. We chatted with pumpkin, a member of the iPhone Dev Team who recently released a slick and simple tweak called YourTube which allows you to download YouTube videos to your iPhone from within the YouTube.app. Released just the day before yesterday, it's had over 1800 downloads at $2 a pop - $3600 gross revenue in 3 days, a net income of over $2500. Freeman, like Apple, keeps a variable percentage of the sales, depending on whether there is sales tax applicable. The percentage never tops 30%, Apple's cut for AppStore apps. Another developer's net income was over $10,000 in the first week of sales.

    The lower number of packages for sale, and the higher amount of press an average Cydia Store package receives, account for some of this income. Going forward, for the Cydia Store to maintain its initial success a few changes would have to be made. Specifically presentation - right now there's a simple list of apps for sale (themes don't even show up in the list, they're just in the "Changes" tab in Cydia), but as that grows, a spiced-up presentation will be necessary. One of the AppStore's biggest down-falls (besides the $0.99 app price), is its sheer volume. Apps are buried unless they have huge amounts of exterior advertising. Cydia should bring a better method of delivery to the table.

    Apple's TOS on their SDK specifically prohibits apps created in the SDK being sold elsewhere than the AppStore. Whether that's legal (monopoly and anti-competition are a couple terms that come to mind) is to be determined, but Apple is definitely fighting to have full and sole control of the method of selling software to iPhone users. Competition breeds innovation though (and uh... it's quite central to our entire economic ideals), and folks want options. Well, here comes competition...
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Cydia Store - Nearly $1/4 Million in Income started by Kyle Matthews View original post
    Comments 57 Comments
    1. b4lyph's Avatar
      b4lyph -
    1. kmmxracer's Avatar
      kmmxracer -
      Well look how the jailbreaking community is turning into the App Store, whats next!!!
    1. Logan80's Avatar
      Logan80 -
      See, we're not all cheap Apple? Just let us be able to download what WE want for OUR phones, and we'll pay for it.
    1. StealthBravo's Avatar
      StealthBravo -
      I am happy to hear this. I hope more cydia apps transition towards paid apps
    1. 96hondaex's Avatar
      96hondaex -
    1. Melech518's Avatar
      Melech518 -
      This is very good news
    1. Beastlee's Avatar
      Beastlee -
      I have no qualms with paying for a good product that performs a function I need, especially at the meagre prices in question. The issues I find with Cydia paid-for apps is the possibility of them not working again if Apple manage to block the jaibreak process. There's also the question of future support from un-official devs. The only other thing I don't agree with is having an app that has been free since it's inception and has become a part of everyday use but suddenly becomes a pay app. This isn't limited to Cydia however, I've seen it on the Appstore too (Can anyone say Palringo Lite?!).

      We definitely need to make Apple realise that they are missing basic functions that everyone wants and that they should stop sitting on such a restrictive set of development rules! I love the work the devs are doing and hope there is more to come.
    1. stereo313's Avatar
      stereo313 -
      Good maybe they will fix my nes3 that does not save.
    1. chrlswltrs's Avatar
      chrlswltrs -
      I have paid for apps from both cydia and rock and will continue to do so. This is the only place to get some apps that provide the functionality I want because apple won't allow it.
    1. PaperCross's Avatar
      PaperCross -
      That is awesome! Maybe Cydia can do the 1 billion download giveaway soon like Apple did...just to prove a point
    1. Tower72's Avatar
      Tower72 -
      As more and more Apps get "rejected" by the iron fist of Apple,I do hope they find their way here! Tho ive only purchased 2 things (Yourtube and 3G Unrestrictor),I also have the concern about if and when Apple finally figures out how to stop the JB process.Tho by that time I may be sick of the dictatorship of Apple and moved on.
    1. Jahooba's Avatar
      Jahooba -
      Cool. This kind of makes me proud to be a modder! I just wish more people donated!

      Which raises a question: how does one know when they have a mod or theme worth selling?
    1. TheOnlyest's Avatar
      TheOnlyest -
      I also have the same concerns... I have many free app store apps, but I don't buy any apps from the app store, except for one (eWallet), simply because I have no interest in further supporting Apple's evil empire of greed and arrogance. I am also proud to say that I have not purchased ONE SINGLE SONG from iTunes in my entire life, and never will!!

      I have however paid for several apps from the "JB community" Dev's like iBlacklist, iRealQuick, Elert, etc... with great pleasure and absolutely NO regrets. (i'll even buy iProtect if it ever drops to a reasonable price!)

      And if Apple ever DOES come up with a way to make the iPhone jailbreak-proof, i'll cut my losses and drop AT&T and my iPhone like a hot potato!! Palm Pre and Sprint's $99.99 "Everything" plan, here I come!

      Long live the Cydia store and the apps that THE PEOPLE actually want!! And may ALL you awesome JB Dev's make millions!!

      Quote Originally Posted by Beastlee View Post
      The issues I find with Cydia paid-for apps is the possibility of them not working again if Apple manage to block the jaibreak process.
    1. ajl917's Avatar
      ajl917 -
      Great story Poetic! This really is showing how prominent jailbreaking still is and probably will be for years to come. Just a guess, is the dev with $10K in the first week ZodTTD?
    1. flrdotcom's Avatar
      flrdotcom -
      BIG ups to saurik! non of this could happen without you bro, i think i speak for everyone we appreciate your services.
    1. prostovanka's Avatar
      prostovanka -
      Freeman doing awesome job. Thank you all Devs out there that have been with us till today. First thing first, Cheapskates is a little harsh to call some one that simply doesnt want to pay for certain apps that arent worth the money but any way.

      Im just curious iPhone Devteam the one who made JB possible has always claimed to do it for free which still stands till today. If that is so and is true then I think its a little unfair that the people that made Jay Freeman's Cydia App available arent getting a cut.

      Just saying if I gave you a breadmaker that you profit from for free then I'd expect you to give me nice fresh bread every now and then.

      Good job all keep doing great job.
    1. rwin84's Avatar
      rwin84 -
      Go Jay! Hardwork Paying off for yourself and devs. Thank you!!!
    1. KILLINJDM's Avatar
      So you meen to tell me that cydia apps arent free any more!!!!!! WTF is the point of having a hacked iphone if you cant get **** for free
    1. confucious's Avatar
      confucious -
      Quote Originally Posted by KILLINJDM View Post
      So you meen to tell me that cydia apps arent free any more!!!!!! WTF is the point of having a hacked iphone if you cant get **** for free
      The point of having a hacked phone is to enable you to do what you want with your phone and install the software you want, not just what Apple wants you to have.

      Lots of software is still free on Cydia and no one is making you pay for anything if you don't want it.
    1. TheOnlyest's Avatar
      TheOnlyest -
      You obviously have no clue what jailbreaking is about... have you ever used your brain to wonder WHY its called "jailbreaking" and NOT "hacking"? I suggest you restore your phone to factory defaults and find another forum to make an azz of yourself on.
      Have a nice day, and may your next paycheck bounce!

      Quote Originally Posted by KILLINJDM View Post
      So you meen to tell me that cydia apps arent free any more!!!!!! WTF is the point of having a hacked iphone if you cant get **** for free